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Towards a phylogenetic classification of the climbing fern genus Arthropteris

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We inferred the classification of the Paleotropical climbing fern genus Arthropteris and its close relative Psammiosorus, a monotypic genus endemic to Madagascar. The classification of these ferns has until now been poorly understood. To address this, we sampled more than half of the species diversity covering the whole range of the genus including the outlying occurrence at the Juan Fernández Islands. To reconstruct phylogenetic relationships, we obtained DNA sequences from up to six plastid genome regions, including coding and non-coding regions, for these two genera and representatives of all families of the eupolypod I clade, with an emphasis on the Tectariaceae. These data were analyzed using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian inference. We also obtained divergence time estimates. Three questions were addressed. (1) We established that Arthropteris and Psammiosorus form a well-supported clade representing a separate taxon based on their morphological distinctiveness, phylogenetic relationships, and separation since the Eocene from other accepted families of eupolypod ferns. (2) Psammiosorus was found to be nested within Arthropteris. (3) Our analyses supported recognition of a previously doubted species endemic to the karst regions of southern China and northern Vietnam. As a consequence of our results, we describe the new family Arthropteridaceae and introduce the new combination Arthropteris paucivenia for the Madagascan endemic previously treated under Psammiosorus.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Key Laboratory of Southern Subtropical Plant Diversity, Fairylake Botanical Garden, Shenzhen & Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen 518004, China 2: Guangxi Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guilin 541006, China 3: Harbin Normal University, Harbin 150025, China 4: Naturalis Biodiversity Center (section NHN), P.O. Box 9514, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands 5: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, P.O. Box 467, Wellington 6140, New Zealand 6: UMR 7207 UPMC CNRS MNHN 'Centre de recherche sur la Paléobiodiversité et les Paléoenvironnements', 43 rue de Buffon, 75005 Paris, France 7: State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China; Department of Botany, Natural History Museum, London, SW7 5BD, U.K.

Publication date: 21 August 2013

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